Paradox's Guide to
Becoming One of SC’s Greatest
There are a plethora of sites out to help SC players become better.
I have found that stormer’s page is the most beneficial and because
of this, do I release this information.
There are an abundance
“Tips and Strategies” for the common SC players, the fact is that
only about 10% of the time will these tricks win you the game,
and most of the tips are meant for specific series’. I have written
a guide to coincide with statements previously written by Gooseberry
and the theory’s which now exist from stormer.
I HAVE INFORMATION
THAT THE SC GODS DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW. It is basic information,
information that effects the way you play in every game, every
series, every time. I will break up this guide into sections,
as I said this is to coincide with information all ready given,
not a complete guide all in itself.
Winning the Beginning
Many of the SC prodigy pages suggest that there is no best way for opening
moves, or they suggest only one way. The thing to understand about opening
moves is that your opening move determines your strategy for the beginning
of the game. It determines how you are going to play the map, and there
are many different ways to play.
Exploration is a popular style of play that usually occurs in short
maps. This style of play establishes a strong foothold of the map, it
usually keeps your opponent from discovering your side of the map, and
this allows you use cloakers and other such tricks because the map is
so small. The idea is that your tech will be devastated after the first
move, so you wont build until you have some breathing room or
until you have popped with the 1 colony you might build. When playing
this style you build more than an easy amount of science ships, approximately
4-6. Sometimes a player may include 1 colony or 2-4 attacks.
Cons: Your tech will as I
said be devastated. You wont be as strong economic wise. You will
be playing catch up as far as tech goes.
The standard way that is suggested in Als popular SC tutorial.
It is probably best for a series with 4 systems. This will allow you
to explore and colonize without losing any considerable amount of tech.
The idea is to explore what is needed, colonize your systems along with
protecting your colonies, and then popping. This usually consists of
building enough sciences to explore each gate from your HW, 2 pairs
of attack and colony or separate turns.
Cons: If you have a bad map
you will probably not explore all of your systems. There is chance that
you might not be able to colonize your needed systems. If the other
player builds more science ships than you expect than it ruins everything.
This amount to being able to colonize many systems and making one good
pop. The idea is to build many colonies with enough science ships to
explore enough systems for you to use your colonies. This is best when
used in a larger map, where there is a less likelyhood of you meeting
your opponent early. Around 3-4 colonies is built, enough sciences to
explore, and perhaps 1-2 attacks.
Cons: You will be behind
in tech. You will not be able to build for quite awhile, any close encounters
will leave a dent. If your systems that are good are too
far away, youve wasted time and resources.
What this amounts to is waiting for BR2 quickly. This allows you to
explore past enemy lines, allow for a quick overbuild, or allow for
you to colonize without being destroyed. It doesnt necessarily
mean that you dont build any sciences at all, just not very many,
so that you will quickly get to BR2. This strategy is usually best for
either a small map, or a map where you will be able to establish a firm
position when making it to the next BR. Usually 0-2 sciences will be
built for this strategy.
Cons: Sometimes the opponent
can establish a position before you even meet him and he will have caught
up to you in tech because he popped. This allows for the opponent to
explore your territory freely.
5 Explore and OB:
It is kind of self-explanatory. You build enough ships to explore, you
find where your front is with an early science lead, then you make an
overbuild to help establish your position, this way you dont explore
at the opposite end of your front.
Cons: When you overbuild
you meet your opponent and he gets free vision of your area. You will
be behind in tech. Etc.
Creating a Plan:
There are many different ways for someone to open up, but all contributes
to a plan that they decide when going into a game. Throughout the game
you will understand your position and situation better. The idea is
to always have a plan. Ask yourself: What advantages do I have? What
advantages does my opponent have? Where is his strong point? All of
these questions contribute to your overall plan, after answering these
questions allow yourself to win the smaller obstacles. Create a plan
to nuke the front, or to stop his colonization, etc. He who carries
out his plan first will usually win.
The Slow Pop:
If we consider stormers Exploration Edge, think of how much edge
we are losing by dismantling our sciences when popping. When you slow
pop you: 1) Gain an exploration edge, 2) Gain a small Opposition Edge
(explained later), 3) You are secretly popping (to many
novice players anyway). Someone said to me, But you lose a tech
edge. If you do it right you will lose approximately .500-.800
over your opponent (on an average 1.500-2.00 tech increase). What you
gain is more than what you lose!
Tunnels vs. Crossroads:
There is a clear advantage when one player has a tunnel with a Backup
Builder and the other has many connected systems to each. Assuming that
both players have the same econ and tech, the player with the tunnel
will win. It is harder to force ships through a hole one system wide
than it is with a bunch of connected systems. It is easier to defend
a tunnel, the opponent cant explore past it, its harder
to dance his ships. In the midgame, if you are faced with this problem,
use to engineer to make a tunnel
it can win you a game. It also
allows for an easier chance to gain the opposition through a tunnel,
also, which I will talk about next.
Gooseberry writes that there are three edges, stormer says that there
is one more, this is all true, but there exists one last edge that SC
Gods dont want you to know, and determines the outcome to every
The Opposition Edge:
This is perhaps the only edge, which is totally controlled by YOU. Opposition
is when you dictate what the other player does. While your opponent
has different decisions to make essentially you control what
he does Yes, a complete Paradox. What does he mean by this? Well,
pretend there are two bordering fronts, which are both builders. No
ships are on either system, no one has the opposition because no one
can dictate what the other player does. However, if P1 has two ships
on his builder and P2 has none then P1 has the opposition because
he now dictates what the other player does. If P1 just sends his ships
in and build a couple more then P2 might build just enough to
counter. However, P2 knows that he has the possibility of having P1
overbuild, his ships will be insufficient against P1 and essentially
P1 will nuke that system. Now, if P2 overbuilds then P1 has the possibility
to send his ships in this will destroy his overbuild and essentially
he will nuke this system. The situation of P1 having opposition wouldnt
be so bad if he had a backup builder, but P1 still have the opposition.
Lets say that there is a neutral system in between both of the
fronts. To gain the opposition you must have systems in the neutral
system. Gaining control of the opposition will win you the game. Most
of the time this consists of always building a couple of ships so that
you can pressure the opponent to build ships too, if he doesnt
then you have the opposition. About the only time its not good
is if you are way behind in tech.
Defending the Opposition
The Backup Builder:
If you are the kind of guy (or girl) who likes defense (I am), since
defense is key to winning, how might one defend the opposition. Sometimes
you pop one turn later than your opponent and now has the opposition.
Your best defense is the Backup Builder. This enables you to overbuild
without the chance of being destroyed, and if youre opponent sends
too many ships in stupidly to be destroyed by your overbuild, you now
have the opposition. It is key to know that it is better in the
beginning of the game to sacrifice colonizing a backup system
to become a Backup Builder over the Big Papa you see in a distance.
Though your resources will be considerably higher if you took that system,
you might as well hand the game over to your opponent because his opposition
will win him your front system, and now he has a cushion along with
his systems to beef up. Its better to sacrifice a Backup Builder,
defend the blow and then go get the Big Papa. The second way of defending
the opposition is the satellite, which brings me to my next topic. Note:
I didnt say the mine because unless you are playing an
idiot, you wont win the battle because once you have no builder
your opponents opposition will be too strong for you to defend your
Understanding the Power of Satellites:
Someone said to me the other day, I didnt know your tech
would be so high with all of those sats you had. Most SC players
dont TRULY understand the power of the satellite. Consider this:
A BR2 Attack ship costs 4 Minerals and 8 Fuel to maintain. However,
a BR2 Satellite ship only costs 2 Minerals and 0 Fuel to maintain. Lets
put the difference in cost of resources between these two ships to a
fraction - 12 to 2, which reduces 6 to 1. Or this way that a
Sat costs 1/6 of what an Attack does to maintain. Or this way
that you could maintain 6 Sats for the same cost as an Att. Think of
the difference this makes on your tech. Its a considerable amount!
Now, it does cost a bit of a closer fraction to BUILD a satellite compared
to an attack, but over time think of the tech increase difference
There is one seemingly big problem with most SC players and they dont
even know it. First, let me explain to you how you get minerals and
fuel. Once youve colonized a system, you only gain as many minerals
or fuel which is on that planet, and that there is population. For each
population you have, that accounts for the minerals or fuel that you
have for that planet. When I say that you are wasting it, I mean that
you are not manipulating your numbers to get the most out of your Agriculture.
Here is an example.
Now, you would have 141 Minerals
and 146. You actually have more now than you did before! I see this
all of the time, sometimes it is a smaller amount of difference, but
that little difference can win you one more ship than your opponent.
These are perhaps the most fundamental
of SC strategys however, they are not taught, because the best
dont want YOU to become just as good as them. I will end with
giving you some words for the common mistakes. I promise you that if
you use these fundamentals - just like anything else - they will win
it for you. In time you will become better at making decisions, but
using these fundamentals win games.
In a 2 player grudge and you are
nuking, now is the time to do another pop if you need to. If you win,
it wont make a difference, if you dont all your ships are
Building ships is more costly than
upholding ships, so restore your old ones instead of building new ones.
In large maps, many totally ignore the idea of using cloakers. Its
the easiest thing to nuke unguarded systems! Do it!
NEVER make a deal with a diplomat
if it will hurt you. If he wants to colonize your systems instead of
working on his this will cost you and him the game, better that
you nuke him and at least get a nuke out of the game then letting him
hurt you by taking your systems.
Playing me! ;)